SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A night after rallying late for a victory at the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championship, Bradley appeared to be en route for a repeat performance after taking an 8-7 lead in the eighth. The Braves ended up on the wrong end of a late rally Wednesday, however, as Southern Illinois scored a run in the eighth to tie it and another in the 10th to pull out a 9-8 victory against the Braves at Hammons Field.
BU will face tournament-host Missouri State Thursday at 12:30 p.m. in an elimination game. The winner of the BU-MSU contest will play Southern Illinois Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Bradley (27-26-1 overall) led 7-2 after three innings, scoring seven two-out runs in the first three frames, but SIU (30-27) pulled even with a five-run fifth inning. After turning a double play to get out of a jam in the bottom of the seventh, the Braves loaded the bases with one out in the top of the eighth and Greg Partyka gave BU an 8-7 lead with a run-scoring single to center.
The Salukis answered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning. With runners at first and third, Derek Trovillion singled through the left side to knot the game at 8-8. For the second straight game, Max Murphy made a spectacular inning-ending catch in the eighth to prevent the go-ahead run from crossing as the teams were tied heading to the ninth. Murphy's catch will appear during the SportsCenter L.A. broadcast airing at 11:30 p.m.
SIU stranded a runner at third in the bottom of the ninth, but managed to plate the game winner in the bottom of the 10th. Jake Welch drew a one-out walk and moved to second on a Trovillion single to put runners at first and second. Chris Serritella, who entered the game with a .400 average, ripped a single through the left side of the infield to drive home the winning run as SIU rallied from a six-run deficit for the 9-8 victory.
Bradley got off to a strong start, scoring a pair of runs in the top of the first on only one hit after drawing three straight walks to load the bases. Mike Tauchman staked the Braves to an early 1-0 lead when he scored on a fielder's choice and Austin Jarvis drove in Jason Leblebijian with a single to left, giving BU a 2-0 advantage.
The Braves added another run in the top of the second to take a 3-0 advantage when David Compitello led off the inning with a single and later scored on a wild pitch.
A two-out double on the line in left field by Brian Bajer in the bottom of the second led to a SIU run. Bajer scored on a single by Donny Duschinsky single to center to cut the Bradley lead to 3-1.
Bradley broke through for four runs on three SIU errors in the top of the third. Bob Schuch drove in the first run with a two-out single to score Murphy and David Compitello provided the big hit of the inning with a two-run single with the bases loaded. The Braves added another run on a SIU throwing error on the play.
Two Bradley errors in bottom of the fourth helped fuel a five-run inning for the Salukis, with Serritella capping the scoring with a two-run homer to left center to pull SIU even at 7-7.
Danny Gifford took the loss for the Braves, dropping to 4-3. Todd Eaton (2-0) pitched 2.2 scoreless innings for SIU to earn the win.